Regrets and Remembrance is an article presented and written by Ash9876

Regrets and Remembrance is an article presented and written by ISavage

One Week Earlier, Wano Country.

A figure with white hair sat in a dimly lit room, alone, reading reports given to him by a subordinate. The man's face read through the reports with a straight face, until he read a certain line, and his expression quickly turned grim.

"Admiral Alfred Glave found dead in his say?"

Those were the words the man repeated, his tone disheartened. He placed down the reports, and quietly breathed out with a sigh. "Even I, Kosaka Isshin, the Izanami of the Black Widow Pirates, cannot bring myself to be happy at this news..." On his leather chair, he leaned his head backward in contemplation.

"To think, after all these years, traces of my former identity, Charmers Dion would finally come to the surface." A small chuckle was released from Isshin, but it bore melancholy. "...I cannot simply sit here, can I?"

The man stood up, taking a hold of his blade. "Forgive me, Legs."

Present Day, Tariland Island.

Kosaka Isshin had recently docked on a small port off the main port of Tariland Island, the hometown of deceased Admiral Alfred Glave. As he began walking, he could feel a somber atmosphere from the path and nature that flanked both of his sides. This island suffered a heavy loss, and it was also mourning.

He continued into the town, where he found a small grave erected in its center, with numerous bouquets surrounding it. It was a beautiful, warm sense of acknowledgement for the late Admiral, and the love people had for him.

The man had passed through the near-barren town without any trouble, and only looked upon the grave with a sense of sadness.

"It is unfortunate we could never meet again, Sir Glave. You were one of the few men that truly fought for this world's justice..." Isshin spoke with familiarity to the former Admiral, as if he were once his comrade.

"Excuse me mam?" A well dressed marine officer asked as he walked through the doors of a large office building. As he walked towards the woman's desk he could help but bump into several other officers on the way to the desk. The sounds of the busy office echoed throughout the floor of the building as the fine men and women of the Marines were at work. The marine officer finally made it to the desk where the woman was neck deep in paper work, which was seemingly odd for a desk receptionist. "Excuse me mam but is Admiral Ralph in today?" The woman eyes were glued to the file she was reading of a Pirate who was just captured, an X mark was over his his portrait signaling that he had been killed. The woman closed the file and then tossed it into a bin where there were hundreds of other files. Abruptly another marine dropped another bin full of files for the woman to sort through and walked off. She let out a sigh of frustration as she looked up to see the well dressed marine officer looking down upon her. "If you want to see Ralph....excuse me Admiral Ralph you have to either make and appointment of which he will probably dismiss or catch him before he leaves." The woman dunked her hand into a bin of files and pulled one out, slamming it on the desk and opening it to reveal another pirate who's portrait had a X mark through it.

"Why is it so busy here today mam?" The well dressed Marine officer asked. The woman's eyes looked up to the man and back down as she wrote something on the file and answered the marine's question. "Today....Ha, it's been like this all week. Thousands upon thousands of files and I'm not the only one. I'm just a receptionist for crying out loud and all three floors are so backed up with files that they need me.....THE RECEPTIONIST of all people to help fill out these reports and whatnot its ridiculous........." The well dressed marine had a puzzled look on his face from the woman's rant and his question not being answered. "Umm....are you going to answer......" "Admiral Ralph is on a damn killing and capturing spree. Ever since Admiral Glave suddenly past he has been going out everyday from dusk til dawn either capturing or killing pirate, you haven't heard? The man feels responsible for Admiral Glave's death that he's taking out his guilt on pirate. Ralph......Admiral Ralph has changed he didn't do this until Admiral Glave passed. Now could you please either leave or fill out a form for an appointment so I can get back to work." The woman demanded forcing the well dressed marine to pick up an appointment form.

Not far from Tariland Island "GOLD FIST....IT'S GOLD FIST!!!!!" A pirate screamed as he was being forcefully lifted into the air by and unknown power. Sweat rolled down the pirate's face and plummeted down to the deck of his ship which was a battlefield with any of his crewmates dead and more marines piling onto the ship all rearing to battle. Suddenly the pirate started to float towards the man's nickname his was screaming Warren D. Ralph. "Are you the captain of this ship." he asked bringing the man within arms reach of himself. "N....n...No. Please let me go, you let other pirates go in the past whats the difference now." The pirate begged Ralph as along with sweat tears were rolling down his face. "The difference is my ass itched and it needed a scratch..." Ralph said as the tears stopped and the man facial expression went blank at the statement made by Ralph. "Wha....." Without notice the pirate was forcefully sent down straight the the deck and ship into the sea where he was locked in place. "Where's the captain of this ship?" A subordinate of his came forth with holding a sword to the throat of a pirate. "This is him sir." the marine said as he threw him to the mercy of Ralph. "You got any information on Veno, speak up." The pirate captain looked up horrified at the presence of the Admiral staring down upon him. "No....I know n..nothing of that man now let us go please." Ralph face grew impatient and so did his men. Ralph's had quickly turned back as he cocked his fist ready to kill the pirate in one punch. "WAIT WAIT....I HAVE INFORMATION ABOUT A YONKO CREW MEMBER THOUGH JUST PLEASE!!!!" Suddenly Ralph's face lit up as he squatted down to the level of the captain, "Speak......"

"Men, set sail towards Tariland Island, we have a date with a crew member of Legs. Tie those pirates up and put them in the cargo hold.........AND BRING ME SOME MEAT I'M HUNGRY...." The marine warship quickly made its way towards Tariland Island.

On the island, a soft wind blew through the town. It piqued Isshin's curiosity, considering it was supposed to be a calm day according to the weather he could observe. The man's gaze headed towards the port, the source of the incoming winds. He relaxed his body and closed his eyes. Within his mind, a drop of water interrupted his stagnant senses, causing them to ripple outwards and broadcast them towards a significant area outside of their standard range. This calm motion was the man's way of employing Kenbunshoku Haki, and enabled him to perceive entire islands so long as his concentration was not interrupted.

Flashes of images rushed into his mind. Of tall trees, small wooden bridges, rocky pathways, and finally the port came into view. He could hear the ocean's waves rumbling towards the shore, and the smell of the salty ocean consumed him. However, it was a distinctive presence that caught Isshin's attention. A ship, the ship speaheaded by a Marine, made his way towards this place. Taking a deep breath, Isshin focused his vision even further, abandoning the trivial sights seen before and having his extended eyes look directly towards the ship.

Golden hair shimmered before him and eyes of wrath were targeted towards the island. Isshin's eyes opened as his senses touched the incoming man, who had undoubtedly felt Isshin's presence at this point. "...I suppose this was not an unexpected development." The Pirate stated, as he took a white rose from his cloak and placed it on the grave of the former Admiral. "I will not let a petty conflict such as this dishonor your death, Sir Glave." Isshin stated, as he awaited the arrival of the man he sensed earlier.

Tariland Island was in sight of Ralph and his crew as the large warship sailed across the ocea. The waves parted against the massive behemoth of a ship and all of a sudden it abruptly stopped in its tracks. "Sir, why did you stop the ship?" Marines started coming up to the deck to find out why they stopped all of a sudden. Many marines came up to the deck of the ship with bumps, bruises, food, and many other things all over their bodies after being thrown by the stopping force of the ship. "Captain, you're in charge of the ship until I get back, that abrupt stop should have knocked out the prisoners we have but stay on your toes either way."

Ralph floated across the air towards the front of his ship where he stopped and closed his eyes. He could see clearly what was on the island and even the area around the sea; the small town, the fish, and the presence of a being that was powerful enough to emit a presence from that far away. "This guy......I could feel him even further away. He's in front of Glave's grave too." Ralph said to himself as he focused more on the man to try and see if he knew who it was however it wouldn't help until he was face to face with the man. "This guy, he has to be a subordinate of a Yonko not one of Mad Monk's subordinates I know their presence. Not Sengoku or Raptor either, there hasn't been much of a peep out of them in a while however......Legs." "Men, after I get on the island haul ass in the opposite direction of this island. And make a call to the nearest rear or vice admiral and tell them to set up a perimeter around the island however far away. Also conceal whatever happens today from getting out unless of course I die or something like that. And look out for " Ralph's men looked confused at what their superior was telling them for they did not know what he knew.

"And men......If you see a big ass ship the retreat hell....." With that Ralph took off from his ship at the speed of sound creating a sonic boom as he traveled towards the position of the person he sensed. As he got closer his vision of the man became more and more clear as a definite member of Legs crew. Ralph slowed his decent down as he was within viewing distance of the man and lowered himself down onto the ground several meters from the man. Ralph walked closer and closer towards the man until he was within arms reach of him and kept walking passing the man and onto the grave of his fallen comrade. He popped a squat and placed his on the headstone of Alfred. "It's my fault, if I had just captured that damned nipple sucker then and there you would have still been alive and the world wouldn't have such and upset in the power balance. I swear that I will never let another pirate go ever, including you Blade Thief Isshin now tell me what the hell you're doing here at the grave of an Admiral." Ralph stood up and turned around to face the man whose presence was seemingly at his level.

Isshin viewed the movement of the man before him without a glint of fear in his eyes. Despite his hand not touching his blade nor placed in any sort of stance, he was ready to clash with the man if he dared to ruin the peace of this town. Of course, the golden-haired Marine passed by him as if he barely existed. Isshin tilted his neck, observing the man's regrets being conveyed to the Admiral's grave.

As he was addressed, Isshin fully turned his body to face the man talking to him. "Gold Fist Ralph." He spoke, responding to the man's non-existent greeting. "Although I am somewhat disheartened you are here...I suppose I should not be surprised." Isshin could feel a killing intent pour out of Ralph, and knew his beating around the bush was not appreciated. "We are not like the other Yonko. The Black Widow Pirates are an empire composed of the finest warriors. I am here, much like you all, to represent the Black Widow Pirates and pay our respects to Sir Glave. Regardless of the differences in our ideals, he was a warrior worthy of respect." Isshin breathed for a moment, before his posture firmed and his eyes locked with Ralph's with greater intensity.

"But I am also here on behalf of the Black Widow to give you all a warning. If you dare to interrupt our activities in the fragile state you are in, we will not hesitate to engage in war with the entire World Government. So think carefully as you approach me, Admiral Ralph. I am fully willing to fire the beacon of war." The wind blew past both men as the tension rose between the two, their killing intents clashing and causing a storm to erupt within their minds.

"If there one thing I can agree with you on is that Glave was a warrior worthy of respect. Respect that any respectable person should give." Ralph took off his maroon color justice coat to reveal his bright orange dress shirt and blue tie. Placing his hand around the tie he gave it a wiggle, loosing it up so he could reveal the top button on his shirt to unfasten it.

"But the Black Widow Pirates are just that, Pirates. An empire composed of people who some people's lives a living hell. You're the subordinate of a Yonko a very powerful one at that I can't just let you leave." Ralph's arm slowly started to turn black becoming clad with a dense amount of Haki. "Tell me Blade Thief, what activities would I be interrupting if I was to take you in right now. What is it that the Black Widow Pirates are doing that every other pirate crew isn't doing that makes you think it's going to stop me from beating your ass right now."

"...It seems your short-sighted view on the world has prevented you from reaching your full potential." Isshin stated, fearless in front of the Admiral's threats. "How are we different? A foolish question." Izanami pointed at the white rose he placed on the grave, "We show respect to all, including our enemies." He pointed to the sky, "And all territories we conquer, we maintain with our lives." Isshin placed his hand on his chest, "We rule our territories with the intent of prospering people's lives, Gold Fist. The only people that dare fight against us are seekers of chaos, for we encourage order and peace across those that have submitted to us."

Isshin placed his hand at his side, retaining a neutral pose once more. "What is stopping you, or what should be stopping you, is common sense, Gold Fist." Isshin's eyes locked with the Admiral in a fierce battle as he spoke, "Should you possess the ability to imprison me, or rather, should word get out about this little confrontation, do you realize what would happen? A war on the same scale...No, a war even greater than Marineford's will land upon your doorstep. Not only will you be charged with responsibility for a fellow Admiral's death, you will be charged for the instability of the entire world. The territories we have claimed will revile in chaos and an empire will come to seize the world. Can your fist handle that burden, Admiral Warren D. Ralph?"

Ralph's teeth gritted with utter frustration from the statement Isshin made because what Isshin said was absolutely right. Capturing Isshin then and there would warrant a response from Leg's similar to what the former Yonko Edward Newgate did when his commander Portgas D. Ace was captured. The difference was that at that time period was that the Navy's power was indeed greater than what was now the lowest the Navy has ever been. Admirals were quickly replaced then and now they weren't able to find a single person worthy of the position. If Ralph were to capture or even worst kill Isshin the victor in the war would certainly be Legs. On the other hand if Ralph was to die in this battle with Isshin it would put an even wider deficit in power between the Navy in the other powers in the world.

These thoughts played out in Ralph's mind which caused Ralph to turn his back to Isshin and simply walk away from the confrontation. However, something summoned the Admiral back to confront the Yonko's subordinate with a fist imbued with his will to make Isshin realize that a threat to start a war was not something Ralph would cower under. The moment Ralph and Isshin felt each other's presence from miles away was a moment that was destined for conflict to occur. Anytime two powers as great as Ralph and Isshin met it always incorporated some kind of battle, Ralph would initiate this battle. A battle he knew a warrior like Isshin would not hesitate to met head on.

Isshin saw the struggle in Ralph's expression, but the moment that the Admiral turned away from him, he felt an even larger killing intent expressed from him. From the onset, it was foolish to believe that words could pacify someone of his own level. As Ralph began to turn around with a Haki-imbued fist launched towards Isshin's being, Isshin responded without hesitation and began to draw his blade, 'Habakiri.' At first it appeared as if Isshin would be slower than the Admiral, but that was untrue. Within the next instant, Isshin pulled back the scabbard of his blade and his body weight shifted to the right along with his arm, confronting against Ralph's fist with his own Haki-coated blade.

The resulting collision resulted in a thunderous sound that echoed throughout the town. The clash of two great powers such as this would undoubtedly leave its mark on the world, and this was at their bare minimum. Blade and fist fiercely competed against one another, with the arms of both combatants shaking as a result of the strength within their attacks. "...I wish you were more sensible, Gold Fist." Isshin spoke, "However...this is not the place for fighters of our caliber."

Isshin pushed forward, and then disengaged promptly from Ralph's hold, causing another shockwave to emit from the two combatants, which awoke the townspeople. Without hesitation, Isshin leaped upwards, with his body disappearing from sight reminiscent of the Soru technique, as he headed towards the forests on the outskirts of the town.

"BRACE FOR IMPACT!" A marine screamed as a wave came roaring at the warship. The wave made impact with the warship causing it to rock and shake violently however the warship took the brunt of the attack. "That wave came from that Island, you think that was the Admiral and whoever it was clashing?" The men on the warship looked over towards the island as they wondered what exactly was going on. "No doubt that was the Admiral." The captain said responding to the question of a fellow marine.

As Ralph's fist clashed with Isshin the feeling of regret crossed his mind. He was never like this until Alfred was killed. Ralph didn't usually attack opponents after an exchange of words like the ones he had with Isshin however he was pent up with anger and guilt that anything could trigger a response from him. As Isshin pushed off his fist and dashed off towards a forest, Ralph did the same following the Blade Thief in a forest miles away from the town. Ralph had no intention of going all out in this battle because he knew that himself and Isshin's power would be too much for the island to bare. "What the hell are you doing Ralph???" Ralph's consciousness asked as the sensible side of started to take over. "Looks like I'm going to have to break that oath to never let another pirate go. Isshin is right, the Navy is too weak to withstand an all out war with a power like Legs. Fuckin hell....."

As the two combatants got into the forst Ralph called out to Isshin. "Blade Thief! You're a warrior, you said so yourself and so am I. We knew this skirmish would happen the moment we sensed each other. This being the hometown and grave site of someone like Alfred we cannot go all out or we will destroy this island. Nor can we battle for a long period of time or news of this will get out."

"...If that's the case." Isshin appeared on the ground, his blade facing the ground. "I will demonstrate just how far you've fallen to your emotions, Gold Fist." Isshin's glare was ferocious and hunted Ralph like a cornered tiger: today, even the Blade Thief had expressed extraordinary emotion.

It was here that Isshin would show a glimpse of his skill. He stole the power of the Rokushiki once more and immediately stepped off from the ground to leap towards Ralph's position. As the Admiral would prepare to guard himself, Isshin's entire body appeared as if it twitched with extraordinary force, before he used the air as a stepping stone to shift towards Ralph's right. Although Ralph's physical senses may have been fooled by Isshin's speed, the true threat laid bare in Isshin's former position. Where Isshin's body once was, a shell of pressure taking Isshin's shape had appeared. It moved towards Ralph's body at incredible speeds as it was dragged by Isshin's speed. The moment his enemy and the shell collided, they would be engulfed in a powerful explosion of force.

But Isshin would not end his assault there. He performed the same motions three more times around Ralph, capturing his from the front, back, left and right in what would be almost the same instant. Knowing the aftermath of four Rankyaku Kutai on a single man, Isshin pushed away from the immediate radius of Ralph and blackened his blade with Busoshoku Koka before slowly descending on the ground, awaiting his enemy's counterattack.

"An afterimage" The conscious of Ralph acknowledged that one of the Isshin's wasn't the actual one. Then one right after the other on all sides, Ralph's Kenbunshoku Haki captured the presence of Isshin. However once Isshin moved from that actual position and moved on to the next his Kenbunshoku Haki couldn't pick up the presence of the afterimages. Ralph quickly inferred that with Isshin not attacking him directly and the speed at which the afterimages were moving towards him that they weren't as harmless as an average person would think.

Ralph moved into action, coating his fist in an invisible layer of Haki and punching the ground with focused force. The impact of the punch broke the ground around him into thousands of pieces causing some of those pieces to hit the afterimages of Isshin which triggered them prematurely. Additionally since the punch was focused, the ground started to split upward towards Isshin and opened up a mini fissure which would offset Isshin. Realizing that the force of the blast would reach him, Ralph quickly used Soru to escape the radius of the blast and find temporary refugee in the sky where he would launch a counter attack.

Ralph's opponent was a high ranking member of a Yonko's crew, holding back was ideal for two warriors of their caliber however this was different. The skirmish that would occur in that forest would be more of a display of power without going all out. By the time Ralph reached the air both of his arms were heavily coated in haki turning them black as tar. Cocking both arms back and forcefully pushing them towards Isshin Ralph released a shockwave of Haki that echoed throughout the forest. Wildlife fled as large trees were folded under the immense pressure of the Admiral's attack.

"To resort to such a grand display so quickly...You seem agitated, Gold Fist." Isshin observed calmly as the environment began to break as the result of the Admiral's actions. Despite Isshin's initial attack not holding any Haki in the slightest, for Ralph to respond with such intensity made it clear to the Blade Thief that the man's emotions were unstable. As he was now, the Gold Fist was not the opponent that Isshin wished to defeat.

Isshin gripped his blade and swung, with a sweeping motion, horizontally towards the earth. The swing was performed with incredible control and strength, to the point where the ground itself rose upright in response to the shockwave produced by Isshin's slash, despite Isshin stopping the slash halfway. He had created a wall of earth taller than himself, which soon began to blacken in response to making contact with Isshin's sword. This was the Blade Thief's most infamous power, and one truly befitting that of Arachne's right-hand: the power of Weaving.

Isshin's potent Busoshoku Haki had been completely integrated into the earth surrounding him, creating a makeshift black structure that stood like an obsidian barrier. The fissure that Ralph sought to envelop Isshin in had done no more than bounce off the structure, weakening and dissipating before the might of Kosaka Isshin's Busoshoku Haki. And then, Ralph's shockwave collided with Isshin's construct, creating a screeching noise that resembled the sound of a hammer colliding with an anvil. But both had refused to give way to the other, leading to the sound magnifying throughout this forest.

"Gold Fist. You are going too far for a skirmish you know may force your life to end. Stop here, lest we cause a commotion that will ruin the balance of the world henceforth." Isshin told the man, his voice penetrating through the magnifying sound.

The words of Isshin went from one ear and out the next, the death of a fellow Admiral was fresh and he was still under emotional anguish. Ralph was angry and this anger clouded his judgment and actions through the past week and Isshin so happened to a pirate in the path of his pent up anger.

Ralph quickly reacted to the erection of Isshin's defense in response to his powerful attack and used Geppo to launch himself from the air towards the wall of Haki. When he got within a few meter of the wall, Ralph cocked both of his fist back yet again however the coating of Haki was gone. When he brought both fist forward again another shockwave was emitted however it was a much stronger one, created from his use of the Rokushiki technique Rankyaku though applying the technique through his fist. Ralph raw strength combined with the technique of Rokushiki created a large compressed blunt wave of air that swiftly moved on Isshin. However the wall created by the Blade Thief was more than enough to keep the air air at bay. Breaking through the wall wasn't Ralph's goal.

The compressed wave of air would engulf the structure and fold around it causing the earth around where the barrier stood to uproot under the force of Ralph's powerful attack. The reason Ralph launched such a powerful attack at and defense that would withstand the attack was because there would be a few seconds in which Isshin would be trapped behind his own defense. The moment the air folded around the structure is when air rushing around each side of the haki wall would create walls of rushing air. Nothing could get out or in because the air would be moving just that fast to repel attempts at escape, Isshin would need to spend some energy into getting out of the trap.

However those few seconds was when Ralph would attack again, the moment after he launched his attack he used Soru to move to the back side of Isshin. This would be a weak point in the trap because as the rushing air continued to move forward the wall would become weaker which would make it easier for anyone to get through. This position was not to far from Isshin and would be perfect for Ralph to launch another attack which would be a Rankyaku infused kick that would work its way vertically towards the backside of Isshin. Ralph landed on the ground and awaited his opponent.

"I am being trapped in my own barrier? Unlikely." Isshin could hear the currents of air surround his cage of obsidian stone and for but a moment, closed his eyes. He felt the murderous intent of the Admiral shift from his initial position to directly behind him; a fitting movement. But trapping him like this was not going to be enough.

Without delay, the black pigment that saturated the stone surrounding Isshin seemingly shattered. With it, the stone structure began to crumble in the face of the high-pressure winds that below around it. But that was no problem to Isshin. Gripping his sword tightly once more, Isshin anchored his right leg behind his current position, with his foot facing Ralph's direction. In the same motion, Isshin's upper body and hips rotated with extraordinary momentum, carrying his sword arm. The strength from the motion gathered the wind that surrounded his barrier, causing the stones to collapse and allowing Ralph's Rankyaku free entry to strike Isshin.

But that was irrelevant. Isshin's body had fully rotated and he had completed his horizontal slash facing upwards. A crescent wave of air released from the strength built within the attack that momentarily seized the flow of the wind to empower itself, clashing directly against the empowered Rankyaku of the Gold Fist. The two bursts of air collided and sought to overpower each other, as if they were truly material constructs. The rotational power within both attacks created a vortex of air that attracted loose debris, as if a tornado whirled within the island; and this barely touched the surface of their power.

The vortex had quelled, but the Gold Fist had not. "You must calm yourself, Admiral. You know as much as I do continuing this conflict will cause pain for everyone. You are bound by obligation, don't overstep yourself." Isshin's voice attempted to reach out to the Admiral who had lost himself like a firm, guiding, familiar hand. There had only been an exchange of a few attacks from the two with Ralph more so on the offensive, but a portion of the forest was demolished. Isshin was on the defensive against Ralph and hadn't even exerted a tenth of his power and Ralph was holding back. If the fight continued as it did the entire island would be at risk.

Ralph wasn't hearing any of what Isshin had to say and continued to press on his offensive against Isshin. His emotion infused actions fueled his offensive and as soon as the vortex settled Ralph launched off the ground with the power of a firing cannonball. Within one stride, Ralph closed the distance between him and Isshin in less than a second. Ralph planted his left foot down on the ground with his right let behind him. Using a combination of both Geppo, Soru, and raw strength Ralph swung his leg forward towards Isshin forcing the wind to gather around his leg and also push forward with an additional force.

The ground beneath the path of Ralph's leg ripped under the pressure of the attack. The howling of the wind created by the force of the attack echoed throughout the forest causing the remaining wildlife to evacuate. Back in the town the people of the island started to raise concerns of the loud bangs and influx of wildlife coming from the forest.

"Stop." Isshin's voice commanded to the Admiral in a familiar tone. The wind howled around Isshin's being, but it did not faze him. Without hesitation, the man gathered force to his blade without a single stance and interrupted the trajectory of the Admiral's strike. His blade, previously on the ground, would be quickly raised in an upwards slash beneath the Admiral's leg, specifically at his shin. The resulting impact pushed the force of the Admiral's kick upwards, releasing a spear-shaped projectile of wind that gave cause for the birds to retreat.

"You are disrupting the townsfolk. Any further and your reputation as an Admiral, and the reputation of the Marines, will be permanently scarred. We are both weaker than we should be."

For a few seconds there was a pause after Isshin deflected the attack of Ralph. Ralph listened for that pause with his leg still in the air, keeping perfect balance as the sounds of birds flying echoed through what was left of the forest. Ralph had that same look on his face, of anger and frustration, not a single muscle twitched or moved. That was until his eyes suddenly squinted and his leg was brought back down on Isshin coated in Haki. The resulting force created yet another blade of wind that aimed to slice straight through Isshin. Ralph would float and spin in place bringing his foot that was once on the ground around at a incredible rate of speed. As always against someone like Isshin his leg was coated in Haki, looking to bisect Isshin.

Ralph's rage ensued on, words would not calm his emotions. If Isshin wanted to stop Ralph force would be necessary.

Anger crossed the Izanami's face. Ralph had been buried in his anger and Isshin was the unfortunate victim. But Isshin had enough of this farce. As Ralph's leg swung downwards, Isshin coated his blade with Haki drew it with enough speed to perfectly clash with the Admiral's foot in the midst of his kick. The resulting collision immediately dissipated the force behind any air pressure and instead sent it in a circular shockwave rippling from their clash, destroying the ground beneath them with little effort.

Even doing so was not enough, it seemed, as Isshin was then subject to Ralph's other leg raised to cut through him. Instead of performing another maneuver, the swordsman instead continued to apply his strength and finished his slash to completion through swinging it to his right, intercepting Ralph's other leg and now blowing both combatants aback from the resulting force.

The wind howled in defiance to this conflict, and Isshin could hear it clearly. With no hesitation, Isshin made a new stance. His blade's hilt would be aligned with the position of his abdomen, shoulders and legs the same distance apart, and his sword's point facing towards the sky. "Haaaaah!" Isshin invoked a battle cry, focusing his strength and releasing it all in, what appeared to be, a single slash that cut through the surrounding terrain, trees and all, and laid the ground itself bare.

What remained, however, was what would shock any ordinary person. The very air surrounding the Admiral would be cracked, as pure white lines surrounded the man in a manner very reminiscent of a spider's web. While appearing harmless, there was one thing that gave away its danger. The parts of a nearby tree that had recently come into contact with the web had been completely hollowed out, with no trace of it remaining. It had not been simply was removed from existence.

Isshin stood at the end of the web, outside of its range, and looked towards the Admiral with spite. "You aren't worthy of your position, Gold Fist." Isshin blatantly said, before pointing his sword directly at the Admiral. "Come to your senses...or I will annihilate you with the Spider's Cage."

Both of Ralph's attacks were defended against as expected, and even more caused distance to open up between the two. Ralph quickly gained grip to the ground and darted back off towards Isshin. Ralph started to get riled up after this as so did his opponent and he could tell this. As he closed in on Isshin, initially the stance Isshin took wasn't concerning to Ralph. He had fought numerous swordsmen who took the same stance. It wasn't until the air around himself seemingly crack that he had became a bit concerned.

Ralph was however going full speed towards Isshin and luckily in his peripheral vision he saw the trees seemingly hollowed out. Instantly Ralph's brought his coated arms up to defend against the web. For a moment Ralph held back the web until he slowly felt the web somewhat gnawing away at him. From his arms, Ralph released a small wave of Haki strong enough to repel and disperse the web. The force of the attack pushed Ralph back a few feet from where he initially was, creating more distance. The words of Isshin rang in his head, and for a couple of seconds there was silence after his statement.

Ralph unbuttoned his shirt and brought his arms out of his shirt sleeves. He tied the loose sleeves together around his waist and took a deep breath. Ralph leaped into the air using Geppo and held his position in the air above Isshin using his devil fruit powers. A noticeable change would then happen, Ralph's stomach area would get smaller and his arm muscles would grow considerably in size. Swiftly, Ralph drew his right fist back and punched downward at Isshin causing a compressed blasts of air that forcefully made its way towards Isshin. He did the same with his left fist as well, then left again repeating this motion rapidly. With each punch a noticeable boom was heard, signifying that these punches launched the air at speeds over that of sound. Because of Ralph's rapid movement, several of the compressed air blasts landed in areas around Isshin causing sizable explosions of wind to be released.

Isshin's anger had become quite evident now. "Fine." The man mentioned as he witnessed Ralph's punches. They were fast, incredibly fast, to the point where reaction was nigh-impossible -- for an ordinary combatant, that is. Isshin clenched his sword and sent out several arcs of white pressure from his blade. As they made contact with the fists of pressure, the very air itself began to cave in, creating vacuums that sucked in the rest of the waves of air, and even the impacts of the explosions, before the vacuum was filled once more.

Isshin had seemingly disappeared from sight, as he was shown in an aerial position, using Geppo, much like the Admiral, to make a footing in the air, above the Admiral's altitude. "Unweave." Isshin spoke, gripping his blade. In nearly an instant, white threads appeared on the blade and snapped all at once, releasing almost thirty blades from the one that had all been thrown downwards by Isshin himself. "Spider's Coffin!" It was a lethal attack, as a white aura shrouded all of the blades that rained upon the man. Every single blade was woven with space itself, meaning every touch would be lethal, even against the likes of Busoshoku Haki. Although Isshin had no desire to kill the Admiral and tip the balance even further, it was too late to back down now.

Ralph found himself in the air and barraged bu 30 swords each which seemed to have the property of the earlier attack by Isshin. However the attack was different, unlike the net from earlier the blades aimed to pierce through him. Ralph's Haki saw everything and he had ample amount of time to react. That was until over the remaining trees in the forest and far away in the distance, there was a path that stretched from the forest to the city. It was a clear sight to Alfred's grave and from his position in the air Ralph could clearly see his grave.

There was a tiny pause for Ralph as he stared at his grave for a second and in that time the blades were in his airspace. Quickly, Ralph snapped back into however only in enough time to defend from Isshin's attack. Ralph coated his entire body in a layer of Haki, strengthening it as the blades hit him. Knowing what happened before, Ralph released a shockwave of Haki from his body that pushed much of the blades away. However the force of the shockwave and the blades clashing propelled Ralph down to the ground. A loud thud resounded throughout the forest causing any renaming animal to flee. Debris filled the air and where Ralph landed a crater was formed with the imprint of his body.

A few moments later, the debris settled and from the large crater in the ground Ralph came floating out holding the back of his head. Blood oozed down his nostril and there were several cuts and bruises around his body from the clashing of his Haki and Isshin's attack. Ralph floated over to an open area on the ground in the forest and took a seat there still holding his head. He looked up at Isshin and gestured for him to come down to him.

Isshin could see Ralph's regrets in his eyes, enough that he was hurt by his attack and fell to the floor with a stronger impact than Isshin expected. He saw Ralph calm down, and agreed to his gesture to follow him, albeit he was still on-guard. "Are you done now?" Isshin asked, as he landed on the ground.

"What the hell was I thinking. I just placed not only the people of this island in danger, but possibly the entire world. I've not been myself since Alfred died, I've killed people which is something I haven't done in quite a while. I had all intentions of killing you...." Ralph was looking down on the ground the entire time he talked until he looked up at Isshin, blood dripping from his lip. "I heard every word you said and it's now starting to hit me. I am not worthy of this position just as you said. But yet, you did try to kill me. I could tell, why didn't you Isshin?"

"...Killing you has bigger consequences on the world." Isshin mentioned, turning around and refusing to face the Admiral. "As much as it would be a pleasure to remove one more obstacle from our path, I have a warning to give you. The Mad Monk, the Titan, and the Black Widow will destroy Sengoku. And you, the Marines, will do no more than watch. Unless you are willing to be exterminated in the crossfire."

As he said those words, he slashed the air before him. What appeared to be threads binding the air snapped, revealing a black portal that Isshin leaped into, not giving even a single word of farewell to the Admiral.

Only a moment later, the same portal would open in the Wano Country, causing Isshin to land in his own office once more, albeit heavily exhausted. "That...was a foolish encounter." Isshin thought to himself, limping to his seat and sitting down, letting out a large sigh. "I guess I will always be Charmers Dion in my heart..."